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Women’s Soccer up in two polls as Volleyball opens with tourney win

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Volleyball wins ECU Invitational

While an opening match loss was disappointing, the Rutgers Volleyball team bounced back with two strong contests to go 2-1 over the weekend and claimed the East Carolina Invitational title.

Losing 3-1 in the opener to Georgia State on Friday, the Knights regrouped for two wins on Saturday, topping William & Mary, 3-0 and host East Carolina, 3-1. Freshman opposite hitter Kamila Cieslik was named the ECU Invitational Most Valuable Player, while sophomore setter Megan Sharkey and freshman outside hitter Yana Kamshilina were selected to the All-Tournament Team.

"We're really excited," head coach CJ Werneke said. "We believe in our team, we believe in our talent, and what a difference a day makes. Not just physically, but mentally. We played with confidence, we played together, and it feels great to be 2-1 and a tournament champion."

Rutgers was solid defensively, holding W&M (1-2) to a .022 hitting percentage in the straight-setter day game, and committing limited errors on the serve receive and blocking attempts. ECU (2-1) managed just a .189 attack clip in the title game.

Rutgers hosts Siena on Wednesday at the College Avenue Gym for a 7:00 pm start befote traveling to South Orange over the weekend for the Seton Hall Classic.

Big Ten Volleyball Honors

Co-Players of the Week/Co-Freshmen of the Week

Stephanie Samedy, Minnesota - OPP – Fr.

• Averaged 4.43 kills and 3.86 digs per set with two double-doubles and a .315 hitting percentage in her college debut last weekend, helping No. 4 Minnesota defeat No. 11 North Carolina and Louisville in Madison, Wis.

• Had a team-high 14 kills, 12 digs and four block assists in a sweep of UNC

• Added a team-best 17 kills, 15 digs and hit .342 in a four-set win over Louisville

Dana Rettke, Wisconsin - MB – Fr.

• Opened her college career last weekend by averaging 5.0 kills and 1.8 blocks per set with a .619 hitting percentage as No. 7 Wisconsin posted sweeps over visiting Louisville and No. 11 North Carolina

• Recorded 15 kills and match-high six blocks in win over Louisville

• Registered 15 kills and team-best five blocks with a .778 hitting percentage to lead the Badgers past UNC

Defensive Player of the Week

Ali Bastianelli, Illinois - MB – Jr.

• Averaged 2.7 kills and 2.5 blocks per set with a .558 hitting percentage last weekend to pace Illinois to the title at the season-opening Bobcat Classic

• Named the tournament Most Valuable Player, highlighted by a career-high 17 kills and match-best nine blocks against tournament host Montana State

Setter of the Week

Sydney Hilley, Wisconsin - S – Fr.

• Began her college career last weekend by averaging 13.17 assists and 2.33 digs per set with an .889 hitting percentage while guiding No. 7 Wisconsin to 3-0 wins at home over Louisville and No. 11 North Carolina

• Collected her first career double-double against North Carolina with 43 assists and 11 digs

Women’s Soccer Improves in Rankings....and doesn’t, too

With its win over Uconn on Sunday, Rutgers moved down one spot to No. 16 in the United Soccer Coaches poll, up to No. 17 in the Soccer America Top 25 and into the poll at No. 20 by TopDrawerSoccer.com.

The win over the then-ranked Huskies (now 0-2-1) apparently didn’t seem that impressive to the coaches as the Huskies dropped out of the poll completely. The other two rankings were more impressed, with the Knights entering the TopDrawerSoccer.com poll for the first time.

Penn State (No. 4) and Nebraska (14) are the two Big Ten squads ahead of RU in the USC poll. Michigan sits at No. 23.

Casey Murphy was recognized by he conference, and you can read about that below.

Rutgers host Mt. St. Mary’s on Thursday night (7 pm) and Drexel on Sunday (1 pm).

Big Ten Women’s Soccer Honors

Offensive Player of the Week

Sydney Squires, Minnesota - F – Sr.

• Registered 11 points with five goals and one assist as the Gophers picked up two wins and a tie last week

• Factored into five of Minnesota’s six goals against Iowa State on Sunday, scoring a school record-tying four goals (three on headers) in a span of 17:12 early in the second half while adding a first-half assist

Defensive Player of the Week

Casey Murphy, Rutgers - GK – Jr. – Bridgewater, N.J. – Bridgewater-Raritan

• Made five saves to help No. 15/20 Rutgers to a 2-0 win at home over No. 21 UConn on Sunday afternoon

• Recorded her third shutout in as many matches this season

• Received Academic All-Big Ten accolades in 2015

• Earns her sixth career Defensive Player of the Week honor

• Last Rutgers Defensive Player of the Week: Casey Murphy (Oct. 29, 2015)

Freshman of the Week

Mikayla Dayes, Maryland - F – Brampton, Ontario – Saint Thomas Aquinas Secondary

• Collected two goals and one assist last weekend, helping Maryland to a double-overtime win at Gardner-Webb and a tie at Furman

• Scored both of the Terrapins’ goals last Friday at Gardner-Webb, including the game-winning goal in the 104th minute